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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 04:38 
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Pragmatic wrote:
I believe the proper definition of abrogation for this project is:

إبطال آية
Annulment of a verse

I also believe that because of what 2:106 and 16:101 say, the following is an equivalent definition:

إبطال آية بتنزيل آية أخرى
Annulment of a verse through the revelation of another verse

To confirm that "نسخ" implies annulment in the strongest sense, consider another verse in the Quran that uses the word "نسخ":


The exegeses of this verse invariably use pretty decisive language explaining the effect of "نسخ" here, basically saying that what was subjected to "نسخ" was completely gone without a trace. How do people ignore this when they interpret "نسخ" in 2:106 as allowing for the verse to remain in the text of the Quran?

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 04:46 
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Pragmatic wrote:
The exegeses of this verse (22:52) invariably use pretty decisive language explaining the effect of "نسخ" here, basically saying that what was subjected to "نسخ" was completely gone without a trace. How do people ignore this when they interpret "نسخ" in 2:106 as allowing for the verse to remain in the text of the Quran?

Add to that the frightening thought that attempts to attribute abrogation are described by this verse as the work of Satan!

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2010, 08:25 
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In the conclusion (page 7 of the Internet copy) of

ناسخ القرآن العزيز ومنسوخه لابن البارزي

the author explicitly says "The early Muslims like Ibn Abbas, may God be pleased with him, and others used to refer to exception and similar conditions as abrogation, as they all share the removal "إزالة" of the earlier ruling. However, the later Muslims don't refer to that as abrogation since abrogation for them is the lifting of a ruling expressed in text with another text without which the former ruling would be in place."

Two remarks:

1. The fact that he singled out Ibn-Abbas confirms that overruling some of the narrations of Ibn-Abbas about abrogation had been established.

2. How is it that exception results in "removal "إزالة" of the earlier ruling" is beyond me. My best guess is that the author said that so his statement would not look like criticizing a respected figure like Ibn Abbas.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 20 Feb 2010, 17:26 
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Pragmatic wrote:
I would modify the "ruling" part since the object of abrogation is a verse per 2:106, although that goes against the bulk of the literature where the object of "نسخ", as the word has been used, is almost always a ruling. Here is what I said about that on the first page of this thread:

Pragmatic wrote:
Verse 2:106 is what introduced the notion of abrogation, and according to it what would be abrogated is a verse. Therefore, the only relevant definition of abrogation is abrogation of a verse. Anything else is an expansion of this definition that helps confuse the issues.

Indeed, we have seen significant confusion in the literature that can be traced back to mixing the technical and linguistic definitions of the word "نسخ" and covering rulings in the Sunna and even in the Muslim traditions.

All that would be true if we maintain that "نسخ" means abrogation. However, I'm convinced that the early Muslims have understood the word to mean any subsequent changes to the provision of a verse. This definition largely explains why the early Muslim scholars described an exception, a specification, or a special situation as "نسخ". I honestly believe that the confusion started when a specific, strict definition of the word "نسخ" (which you've called a technical definition) was introduced by later scholars, a definition that can be correctly translated as abrogation.

Pragmatic wrote:
Therefore, I believe the proper definition of abrogation for this project is:

إبطال آية
Annulment of a verse

I also believe that because of what 2:106 and 16:101 say, the following is an equivalent definition:

إبطال آية بتنزيل آية أخرى
Annulment of a verse through the revelation of another verse

That would be a correct definition of abrogation for this project, but IMHO, not a correct definition of "نسخ"!

Pragmatic wrote:
One more distinction that Dr. Zaid makes in his book is between "الترجيح" (accepting one side of an argument over another) and abrogation. In Item 312 on page 212, he concedes that the two notions have similarities because both of them result in choosing one side and dismissing the other, but points out that "الترجيح" is admittedly a less certain endeavor that does not have the decisive nature of abrogation.

I'd say that there is no similarity between the two concepts. Abrogation is a verdict of cancellation, while "الترجيح" (weighing the evidence) is a logical/juristic endeavor.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 20 Feb 2010, 19:49 
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Linguistic wrote:
That would be a correct definition of abrogation for this project, but IMHO, not a correct definition of "نسخ"!
...
I'd say that there is no similarity between the two concepts. Abrogation is a verdict of cancellation, while "الترجيح" (weighing the evidence) is a logical/juristic endeavor.

You have zoomed in on the how did this happen question.

  • First, people used "نسخ" to mean amend. This is acceptable linguistic use and we have no quarrel with their statements, and we also have no quarrel with the object of "نسخ" in this sense being rulings, not just verses. Proof: Examples of Sahabi narrations that cannot be interpreted otherwise.

  • The notion proved useful as a fiqh tool (added to other tools such as "الترجيح") to resolve perceived conflicts, so its use expanded and 2:106 was highlighted as sanctioning this tool since it uses the term "نسخ" explicitly. Proof: The Hanafi school treatment of abrogation.

  • When people switched from amend to abolish in interpreting the word "نسخ", they inadvertently (or otherwise) used the body of narrations/opinions before them that had used "نسخ" as amendment to support the legitimacy of their theory about "نسخ" as abolishment. Proof: هلكت وأهلكت among other narrations.

Basically, the misunderstanding about the word served as "existence proof" for "نسخ" of Quranic verses, and once people bought into that, the flood gates of abrogation claims were open and the claims met little resistance.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 20 Feb 2010, 20:21 
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Pragmatic wrote:
  • When people switched from amend to abolish in interpreting the word "نسخ", they inadvertently (or otherwise) used the body of narrations/opinions before them that had used "نسخ" as amendment to support the legitimacy of their theory about "نسخ" as abolishment. Proof: هلكت وأهلكت among other narrations.

I'd say that the story of هلكت وأهلكت may have happened as reported. Ali, may God have been pleased with him, may have heard the man give fatwas on the basis of one verse, but he should have also considered other verses that address the issue before he rushed with his fatwa. That could be what prompted Ali to ask the man, "Do you know the other verses that update this?" When the man said he didn't, Ali correctly told him that he is doomed and is dooming others because he obliged himself and others to an incomplete ruling without knowledge of the whole ruling.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 20 Feb 2010, 20:36 
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Linguistic wrote:
Pragmatic wrote:
  • When people switched from amend to abolish in interpreting the word "نسخ", they inadvertently (or otherwise) used the body of narrations/opinions before them that had used "نسخ" as amendment to support the legitimacy of their theory about "نسخ" as abolishment. Proof: هلكت وأهلكت among other narrations.

I'd say that the story of هلكت وأهلكت may have happened as reported. Ali, may God have been pleased with him, may have heard the man give fatwas on the basis of one verse, but he should have also considered other verses that address the issue before he rushed with his fatwa. That could be what prompted Ali to ask the man, "Do you know the other verses that update this?" When the man said he didn't, Ali correctly told him that he is doomed and is dooming others because he obliged himself and others to an incomplete ruling without knowledge of the whole ruling.

Exactly. He may well have used it in the amendment sense, and people cite the story to defend the abolishment sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2010, 23:40 
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I asked myself why didn't the early scholars use specific words for specific meanings, instead of using the word نسخ for all those meanings. Then, what words would they have used? For instance:

تعديل /taʕ,di:l/ for adjustment? But that wouldn't be correct, because that word actually means making something upright, as in الجرح والتعديل

تغيير /taɣ,ji:r/ for change? But that wouldn't be correct, because the word actually means making something different from what it was, as in

while نسخ may keep some aspects.

تبديل /tæb,di:l/ for substituting. God did use that word in 16:101, but not in 2:106, so the intended meaning of each must be different.

إضافة /i,ɖa:fæ/ for addition? But that wouldn't be correct because it can always be thought of as a new ruling.

حذف /ħæðf/ for editing out? But that never applied to any verse.

محو /mæħw/ for erasure? God did use that word in 13:39, but not in 2:106, so the intended meaning in each must be different.

إزالة /i,zæ:læ/ for removal? But that wouldn't be accurate because the word actually meaning letting something stay behind but not removed.

استثناء /istiθ,næ:ʔ/ for exemption? The early scholars did use that word often in the context of نسخ

ترخيص /tær,xi:ʂ/ for licensing? The early scholars did use that word often in the context of نسخ

تخصيص /tax,ʂi:ʂ/ for specifying? The early scholars did use that word often in the context of نسخ

تخفيف /tax,fi:f/ for easing? The early scholars did use that word often in the context of نسخ

زيادة /zi,jæ:dæ/ for addition? But it was the opposite, easing, that has happened.

Thus, I conclude, that the early scholars did use the right word نسخ for all of the meanings of that word. It is the latter scholars who confined the word to only one of its meanings, namely, total replacement, that has caused the dilemma of abrogation IMHO.

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 Post subject: How Ibn Abbaas (RA) used the word نسخ /næsx/
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2010, 22:05 
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In this topic, I'll attempt to collect all the ways Ibn Abbaas, may God have been pleased with him, used the word نسخ /næsx/ and thus show that confining the word to mean abrogation only was a mistake that lead to all the arguments and confusion about abrogation in the Quran. Please reply with other instances you find, so I can add them to the list below.

65:1/2:229 - Abrogation called Naskh; 2:229 abrogated pre-Islamic practices.

34:47/42:23 - Exception called Naskh.

24:60/24:31 - He used both words: Naskh and exception.

63:6/9:80 - Decisive explanation called Naskh.

4:10,4:29/4:6 - Obvious "exception" is called Naskh.

P.S. In the case of 40:7/42:5, An-Nahhaas points out the possibility that the use of the word Naskh by Wahb ibn Munbih may be for copy. Same thing was said about the case of 2:220/4:10

P.S. In the case of 2:227/26:224, Ibn Al-Jawzi reports that narrators have changed what Ibn Abbaas has said based on their understanding of what he meant! Same thing was said about the case of 2:220/4:10

P.S. In the case of 9:122/4:71,9:39,9:41, Ibn Al-Jawzi casts doubt on the authenticity of the report tracing back to Ibn Abbaas.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2010, 04:17 
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Linguistic wrote:
I asked myself why didn't the early scholars use specific words for specific meanings, instead of using the word نسخ for all those meanings.
...

Nice analysis!

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